Wendell Carter Jr. is back in the Chicago Bulls starting lineup for Monday's game against the Indiana Pacers

Chicago Bulls center Wendell Carter Jr. returned to the starting lineup Monday night against the Indiana Pacers, his first game since Jan. 18.

Although Carter practiced Sunday , coach Billy Donovan said his conditioning might need some catching up after such an extended absence.

He has been sidelined since suffering the injury in practice Jan. 20 after getting the worse end of a collision with Denzel Valentine.

The team’s initial timeline planned for Carter to be evaluated after four weeks, knowing it could take longer to work his way back because his mobility would be limited with a leg injury.

Even while he works his way back to full strength, however, he should provide a boost for the depleted Bulls frontcourt.

He was starting to settle in defensively, and Donovan felt like Carter was starting to get more comfortable in the offense, including freeing up shooters with his excellent screen setting (5.0 screen assists per game; tied for fourth in the NBA).

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